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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

Can anyone help - child may have eaten poisonous berries

(20 Posts)
JustAQuickNap Thu 04-Aug-11 17:47:36

DS1 is 2 and a bit, was out playing in garden and brought what he called a 'bluberry' to me. Since the rain this afternoon, loads of berries from a tree in the neighbour's garden have fallen off into ours. They're big and black, and though she doesn't know for sure, the neighbour thinks it might be a cherry laurel (she looked it up in a book of trees, and it does seem to be).

DS1 has always been good about not putting stuff in his mouth if he doesn't know what its is, but he's at that age where not much is predictable. I've asked him whether he has eaten any or put any in his mouth, and he's said both yes and no - I've no idea whether he actually did or not, or whether he just brought one over when he found them. I've tried asking in loads of different ways, but often I think he thinks we're just playing one of our games & he's pretending that he's eaten some.

The tree is apparently highly toxic, the flesh of the berries less so, but the stone in the berry very poisonous. I asked DS1 if there was a hard bit in it or whether it was soft, & he said 'hard bit' - there's a stone in them like a cherry, which makes me think he might have eaten one - I asked if he spat it out or swallowed it, & he said he swallowed it. But then again, he might well not have, and could just be doing the pretending that we do so much of the time. I've tried telling him this isn't a game and I need to know what actually happened, but I'm still no clearer.

I don't know what to do.

Can anyone offer me any advice?

birdsofshoreandsea Thu 04-Aug-11 17:49:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hellymelly Thu 04-Aug-11 17:50:14

A and E.I think its highly unlikely that he has taken in enough to be ill, but just in case take him in asap.

HippyHippopotamus Thu 04-Aug-11 17:50:22

i'd be phoning nhs direct if i were you

WhereTheWildThingsWere Thu 04-Aug-11 17:53:23

I think you have to take him in, i had exactly the same situation with ds at the same age when he brought me a half used packet of ibruprofen (no idea where he got if from) and said that he had/hadn't eaten any.

We had a six hour wait in A and E he was fine and they let us go home.

dikkertjedap Thu 04-Aug-11 17:53:52

I would take him to A&E together with some of the berries and maybe some leaves from the tree (to help with identification) and your neighbour's book. If you suspect that it is highly toxic and are not sure if he has eaten any then better safe than sorry IMO.

JustAQuickNap Thu 04-Aug-11 17:55:27

WhereTheWildThingsWere - did you just have to wait that long or did they observe him?

I'm waiting to get through to NHS direct right now.

dikkertjedap Thu 04-Aug-11 17:55:44

Even if you have a long wait in A&E (take a book/some toys to keep him busy and a drink maybe food???), it is still better, because if he does become unwell you are in the right place straight away. Hope it all turns out to be a false alarm.

Northernlurker Thu 04-Aug-11 17:56:16

Advice? Go to A&E now. Call an ambulance if you don't have a car. Your son should be treated as if he has ingested something highly toxic and time is vital.
Out of the house and off to hospital NOW please.

scurryfunge Thu 04-Aug-11 17:56:51

Take any other berries with you

dikkertjedap Thu 04-Aug-11 17:57:59

NL is right, don't wait for NHS direct, if he has eaten it he might need treatment pronto.

WhereTheWildThingsWere Thu 04-Aug-11 17:58:31

Yes, he had to have a six hour observation, I really think you should take him rather than waiting for NHS direct, who will just faff about trying to rule out menengitis, they are generally useless.

Northernlurker Thu 04-Aug-11 17:59:05

Hoping you have out the phone down and are heading it out. Think about it - NHS direct cannot tell you over the phone that a) he hasnt eaten it or b) it's not toxic. You need a hospital NOW.

Pancakeflipper Thu 04-Aug-11 17:59:55

My son when he was 3 ate laurel berries. We didn't know the quanity. We phoned NHSDirect. They spoke to the relevant dept and got back in touch ASAP. We were told to give him fluids and if he showed any signs of illness to get him to the hospital/call ambulance. I stayed up all night watching him sleep - he was fine.

birdsofshoreandsea Thu 04-Aug-11 18:01:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

birdsofshoreandsea Thu 04-Aug-11 18:02:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

scurryfunge Thu 04-Aug-11 18:02:36

The flesh is ok it is the seeds that are poisonous, birdsofshore

Northernlurker Thu 04-Aug-11 18:03:17

Probably best to remember that the OP doesn't know if he's eaten them or not and she doesn't know for definate what they are. These two circumstances mean she needs to err very much on the side of caution rather than seeking reassurance on the internet.

DeWe Thu 04-Aug-11 18:35:16

Take an example of the berries and a leaf and go to A & E.

JustAQuickNap Thu 04-Aug-11 19:08:41

Thanks everyone. We're sure it's cherry laurel but still not sure whether he's eaten any or not. If he has, I think it was one berry.

NHS Direct got back to us very quickly, looked up the poison & said that the best course of action was to observe him for six hours, so we're keeping him up as long as we can. It happened at 5pm, so if he's ok by 11, I think we're in the all clear. Is that how long it takes for something to be digested?

If he has swallowed a stone, it's very very unlikely that he chewed it (I think he would have broken his teeth) so he would have swallowed it whole, which shouldn't be dangerous, apparently. We're not taking our eyes off him, and if he shows any signs at all of anything being wrong, we're straight to A&E - it's only 3 minute drive from us, thankfully.

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